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322                 HISTORY OF PERSIA                CHAP.
disloyal tribesmen had not rallied round the throne ;
consequently no resistance was offered, and Kum, Kashan,
and Kazvin all opened their gates. As a set-off to these
achievements, Mahmud was informed that treasure equiva-
lent to £300,000, which he had despatched to Kandahar
to be spent in recruiting his army, had been plundered
by a Sistan chief. Nor was this the Afghan monarch's
only embarrassment.
The Will of Peter the Great.—Among the mysteries
of European history is the celebrated will of Peter the
Great.    It is generally believed to have been published
in Europe through the instrumentality of the notorious
Chevalier d'Eon, who obtained it in  1755 while he was
acting as reader to  Catherine the Great.     It has been
pronounced  apocryphal, but by Persians  and by many
Russians its genuineness is not doubted.    Even if it is
not the actual political testament of Peter, it is accepted
as embodying the national aspirations of Russia in the
first half of the eighteenth century, and as such it deserves
to be studied.1    Its tenor is uniformly aggressive, Russia
being urged to aim at almost universal dominion.    "We
are here chiefly dealing with the instructions concerning
Persia, which are as follows : Cc Excite continual wars, not
only in Turkey but in Persia."  And again: "Sweden being
dismembered, Persia subjugated, etc."    These words are
known to every educated son of Iran through a Persian
translation and ring like a knell in his ears.    Thus the
will of Peter the  Great, although   scarcely  known in
western Europe, constitutes, so far as Persia is concerned,
an instrument of policy the influence of which can hardly
be overestimated.
The Capture of Derbent by Peter > A.H. 1135 (1722).
—At this period Peter the Great had finally triumphed
over Sweden and was free to turn his arms elsewhere.
Accordingly he hastened to profit by the weakness of
Persia. While the Safavi dynasty was in its death-throes,
he had sent .an embassy to Shah Husayn which, on its
arrival, presented itself to the victorious Afghans, demand-
ing redress for alleged grievances, among which were the
1 It is printed in full at the end of this chapter.